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best chicago breweries

The 5 Best Chicago Breweries to Visit Right Now

By / March 9, 2018

Craft beer is taking off nationwide faster than brew lovers can say “another round,” and Chicago is seeing the results firsthand. Last year, the city was home to more than 150 breweries (second only to Portland, Oregon), and that number only continues to grow—making it easier than ever before to sample through an array of locally released ales and lagers. From a Logan Square spot making both beer and spirits, to a Hyde Park hangout where oak-aged sours reign, here are five of Chicago’s best breweries to check out now.

Lo-Rez Brewing


Founders Dave Dahl and Kevin Lilly opened this brewery and taproom just last summer, giving Pilsen residents one more reason to skip out of the office early whenever possible. Belgian and malt-forward styles are their specialty, as showcased by favorites like the Raster (rye saison), the Daemon (strong Belgian golden), and the Far North Declaration (barrel-aged imperial stout).
For the full experience, check out the taproom, a gathering place for plenty of the area’s artists and musicians (and their canines, thanks to a dog-friendly policy).

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Maplewood Brewery & Distillery


This brewery-meets-distillery is the only one in the state of Illinois, which means it’s also the only spot folks can gather for both beer and spirits made in-house. Do start with the former—after all, they have plenty of it, including the Son of Juice IPA (citrusy), Juice Pants IPA (juicy and aromatic), and the Fat Pug Oatmeal Milk Stout (chocolatey and smooth). For round two (or three), check out their other selections, which range from slushies and beer-inspired drams, to a variety of “fizzy drinks” that incorporate both beer and spirits.

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales


Chicago saw one of its newest brewery openings with this Hyde Park debut, where oak-aged sour beer is the most prized offering. For a taste of what they do best, try the Oro de Calabaza, a former gold medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival and named “Best Belgian Golden Ale” in a blind tasting by The New York Times. Red ale fanatics can opt for La Roja, and come spring, it’s all about the release of Baudelaire IO, a saison brewed with hibiscus, rose petals, and rose hips.

Alulu Brewpub and Brewery


Logan Helton and Frank Costanzo make up the genius behind this recently opened brewery, which focuses on classic styles of beers with a modern twist. That means brews like their Ghostly Liso, a clean, crisp, Mexican lager, and the Fox de Locus, a watermelon kettle sour that is light, fruity, and perfect for warm weather drinking. Still, their most popular styles are their IPAs, from the Binary Daydream to the Rue Calstra.

Hopewell Brewing Company


This Logan Square brewery specializes in a wide range of styles, including three beers they make year-round: a crisp, aromatic lager (First Lager), a West Coast-style IPA (Swift IPA), and a classic, clean saison (Family Saison). This spring, fans can also look forward to the release of their wild oak-aged beers and their Clover Club, a raspberry and gin botanical kettle sour that has already gained a loyal following.

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Nicole Schnitzler is a freelance writer who covers​ ​food, drink, ​travel, entertainment, and ​lifestyle. When she is not planning her next adventure​​, she can be found​ ​commuting between bakeries, yoga classes,​ live music shows, and libraries ​in her hometown of ​​Chicago. She is most comfortable with a pen in one hand and a fork in the other. Nicole is also the founder of Doors Open Dishes, an initiative committed to keeping the doors open to the group homes and workshops of individuals with special needs by partnering with chefs and restaurants across the city. Follow her on Twitter (@Write_To_Eat) or on Instagram (@WriteToEat).

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